Rise in global alcohol consumption

Total global alcohol consumption grew slightly in 2017, increasing by 3.5 million nine-litre cases over 2016 according to data just released by the IWSR, the world’s leading authority on global beverage alcohol data and analysis.

Though 2017’s growth is just 0.01% it follows a decline of 1.25% in 2016, which is a positive turnaround for the industry as a whole.

Wine contributed to the largest gain in global volume, followed by cider.

Spirits declined marginally and beer and mixed drinks consumption continued to decline (see table below).

After a static year in 2016, still wine staged a comeback in 2017, gaining 12 million cases (up 0.5%).

Italy, Russia and the US were the top growth markets for still wine, while the UK and France saw the largest declines. These mature wine markets are losing out to generational shifts in drinks choices; cider and sparkling wine growth in the UK counteracted the decline of still wine and in France beer consumption rose strongly.


Fastest-growing regions

The fastest-growing regions for spirits were Asia-Pacific and the Americas. The continued growth of baijiu in China is the main contributor to the Asia-Pacific volumes, but Whisk(e)y also performed well in the Asia-Pacific region, adding 2.7 million cases between 2016 and 2017 (up 1.2%).

Similarly, whisk(e)y grew by 2.7 million cases in the Americas (up 3.2%) and vodka added 1.7m cases (up 1.8%).

Agave-based spirits were the best-performing category in the region by percentage growth, growing volumes 5.3% or 1.4m cases, followed by gin and genever (up 4.5%) and whisk(e)y (up 2%). The CIS (Russian Commonwealth) was the only region to see a decline in spirits consumption, falling by 7.6% (or 25.2m cases) due to the decrease of vodka consumption in Russia and Ukraine. Government pressures and generational shifts contributed to these ongoing declines.


Agave-based spirits

In percentage terms, agave-based spirits were the fastest-growing category globally (up 5.2%). The US was the largest-growth market for agave-based spirits and whisk(e)y while the UK was the largest-growth market for gin.



Beer returned to growth in the Americas, led by Mexico and Argentina, despite continued declines in the US. Positive results in the Americas along with strong growth in Africa, the Middle East and Europe helped to slow the global decline of beer consumption, reports the IWSR.



Though cider growth in Europe has slowed, momentum in Africa and the Middle East helped spur a 2.5% global volume increase.


Mixed drinks

The mixed drinks market declined by 1%, led by a slowdown in Asia-Pacific and further category negative trends in the CIS and the Americas.







Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free